Sunday, February 10, 2008

Next Up for the Democrats: Civil War

A great Op Ed in today's NYT by Frank Rich, highlighting how the desperate Clintons are playing all sorts of race cards:
Though Tuesday was largely a draw in popular votes and delegates, every other indicator, from the candidates’ real and virtual crowds to hard cash, points to a steadily widening Obama-Clinton gap. The Clinton campaign might be an imploding Potemkin village itself were it not for the fungible profits from Bill Clinton’s murky post-presidency business deals. (The Clintons, unlike Mr. Obama, have not released their income-tax returns.)

The campaign’s other most potent form of currency remains its thick deck of race cards.

It's not working though:
Black America has largely deserted the Clintons. In her California primary victory, Mrs. Clinton drew only 19 percent of the black vote. The campaign saw this coming and so saw no percentage in bestowing precious minutes of prime-time television on African-American queries..

The real point of the Clinton campaign’s decision to sow misinformation and racial division, Mr. Rodriguez concluded, was to “undermine one of Obama’s central selling points, that he can build bridges and unite Americans of all types.”

If that was the intent, it didn’t work. Mrs. Clinton did pile up her expected large margin among Latino voters in California. But her tight grip on that electorate is loosening. Mr. Obama, who captured only 26 percent of Hispanic voters in Nevada last month, did better than that in every state on Tuesday, reaching 41 percent in Arizona and 53 percent in Connecticut. Meanwhile, the Clinton campaign’s attempt to drive white voters away from Mr. Obama by playing the race card has backfired. His white vote tally rises every week. Though Mrs. Clinton won California by almost 10 percentage points, among whites she beat Mr. Obama by only 3 points.

The question now is how much more racial friction the Clinton campaign will gin up if its Hispanic support starts to erode in Texas, whose March 4 vote it sees as its latest firewall. Clearly it will stop at little.

Rich also highlights how the Clintons are trying to steal the Florida and Michigan delegates:
That’s why you now hear Clinton operatives talk ever more brazenly about trying to reverse party rulings so that they can hijack 366 ghost delegates from Florida and the other rogue primary, Michigan, where Mr. Obama wasn’t even on the ballot. So much for Mrs. Clinton’s assurance on New Hampshire Public Radio last fall that it didn’t matter if she alone kept her name on the Michigan ballot because the vote “is not going to count for anything.”

Last month, two eminent African-American historians who have served in government, Mary Frances Berry (in the Carter and Clinton years) and Roger Wilkins (in the Johnson administration), wrote Howard Dean, the Democrats’ chairman, to warn him of the perils of that credentials fight. Last week, Mr. Dean became sufficiently alarmed to propose brokering an “arrangement” if a clear-cut victory by one candidate hasn’t rendered the issue moot by the spring. But does anyone seriously believe that Howard Dean can deter a Clinton combine so ruthless that it risked shredding three decades of mutual affection with black America to win a primary?

February 10, 2008
Op-Ed Columnist

Next Up for the Democrats: Civil War

WHAT if a presidential candidate held what she billed as “the largest, most interactive town hall in political history” on national television, and no one noticed?


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